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Rublev Escapes Tight Milan Opener

Italian wild card Gianluigi Quinzi must have felt like it was 2013 again. The former junior World No. 1, who won the 2013 Wimbledon boys junior title, was even with top seed Andrey Rublev for 90 minutes on Tuesday at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

The 21-year-old Quinzi had recovered from blowout sets, pushed through exhaustion and found a way to extend the favoured Rublev into a fifth set. But it was late in that decider when the 20-year-old Rublev, already an ATP World Tour titlist, focused on the end goal and sprinted to the finish.

Top-seeded Andrey Rublev fights off a tough challenge by Gianluigi Quinzi at the Next Gen ATP Finals.
The Russian won 11 of the final 14 points against the home favourite to avoid a stunning opening loss, beating Quinzi 1-4, 4-0, 4-3(3), 0-4, 4-3(3) to conclude Day 1 in Milan.

Rublev won his first title in July on the clay in Umag and has been one of the front-runners of the #NextGenATP group since his triumph. At the US Open, the right-hander beat Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers David Goffin and Grigor Dimitrov en route to becoming the youngest quarter-finalist in New York since Andy Roddick in 2001.

The 6'2” Russian reached another quarter-final in October at the China Open in Beijing. But he had trouble against Quinzi, who was playing with momentum and a home crowd.

The Italian had won three consecutive matches in the 21-and-under Italian Next Gen ATP Finals Qualifying tournament last weekend to make the Next Gen ATP Finals. And during the qualifying tournament, Quinzi had become accustomed to some of the new rules and innovations taking place this week in Milan, including the shorter format: first to four games sets and no ad scoring.

Quinzi darted to start the match, blanking Rublev in the opener. But the Italian felt fatigued in the second. During his conference with his coach after the second set, Quinzi said, “Physically, I'm dead.” Rublev also raised his level in the third, saving all three break points.

But Quinzi recovered well in the fourth before the Russian played his most consistent tennis late in the fifth set.

Source: https://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/rublev-quinzi-milan-2017-tuesday

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